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 National Liberation Movements in the Colonies

          Wars of National Liberation or National Liberation Revolutions are conflicts fought by nationalists to gain independence. The term National Liberation Movements are most commonly used for those fought during the decolonization movement. The term is used in the conjunction with wars against foreign powers to establish separate sovereignty states for the rebelling nationality.
          In this chapter we will read about the plight of the colonies and how they began to fight against colonial domination of the European powers. Most of these countries consisted of many different kinds of people who spoke many different languages, or followed different religions and seldom thought of themselves as one nation. The traditional rulers in almost all these countries had been kings and emperors who did not sympathise with ideas of democracy and freedom. As new movements took shape they were inspired by the new ideas prevalent in Europe, like nationalism, democracy and even socialism. We will study the experiences of some of these countries and compare them with that of our own country to understand the transformation of lives of millions of people of the colonies. Mainly we discuss the national liberation movements in China, Viet
nam and Nigeria.

China's National Movement:
          In China there was a Monarchial regime until 1912. At the turn of the 20th century China was ruled by Manchu dynasty, which had become powerless to defend the interests of China vis a vis the western colonial powers. These powers had carved out their 'Spheres of influence' in different parts of China and had forced the emperors to give them economic and political concessions like low import taxes, immunity from Chinese laws, maintaining armed forces etc. Both the common people and administrators of the empire were unhappy with his state of affairs. There were several revolts by the people and attempts at reform by the administrators. 
          However, there was a lot of intellectual movement in China, attempting at introducing reforms. Reforms were proposed by Chinese intellectuals such as Kang-Yu-Wei, Lian-chi-chao, Li-Tachao and others. One such reform attempt was made by Sun-Yat-sen.
          Sun-Yat-sen succeeded in turning the Anti-Manchu agitation into a republican movement. Chinese people under Sun-Yat-sen took up arms against Manchus and captured Nanking and formed there a provincial Republic. Sen became its President. In 1912, the Manchu Emperor of a very young age, was forced to abdicate the throne. Thus ended the Manchu rule over the China.
 Sun-Yat-sen regarded as the founder of the modern China. He studied the problems of China and his programme was called the Three Principles. These were: Nationalism-overthrowing Manchu Dynasty, Democracy - establishing democratic government, socialism-regulating industries and land reforms. Sen's republican government could not consolidate itself. The country came to be controlled by regional military powers called War Lords.

May Fourth Movement:
          Despite being an ally of the victorious side led by Britain in the First World War, China did not get back the territories seized from it by Japan. It led to an angry demonstration in beijing on 4th May 1919 and they protest against the decisions of the Versailles Peace Conference. This movement criticised the Chinese superstitious practices and the old traditions and to call for saving China through science, democracy and nationalism. They advocated reforms such as the subordination of women, equality in marriage and economic development to end poverty.

After the republican revolution the country entered a period of turmoil. The Guomindang (the National People's Party also called KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) emerged as major forces striving to unite the country and bring stability. Sun-Yat-sen's ideas became the basis of the political philosophy of the Guomindang. They identified the 'four great needs' as clothing, food, housing and transportation. After the death of Sen, Chiang Kaishek (1887-1975) emerged as the leader of the Guomindang as he launched a military campaign to control the warlords, regional leaders who had usurped authority, and to eliminate the communists. He sought to militarise the nation.
Industrial working class had been raised in number. Urban workers dissatisfied with their wages and formed as trade unions. Equality, Freedom, Women's rights... ideas were discussed. Social and Cultural change was helped along by the spread of schools and universities. Chiang was a conservative and he encouraged women to cultivate the four virtues of 'Chastity, appearance, speech and work' and recognise their role as confined to the household. His policies were in favour of factory owners and suppress the trade union movement. The Guomindang, despite its attempts to unite the country, failed because of its narrow social base and limited political vision. It sought to impose military order rather than address the problems faced by the people.

The Communist Party of China
          The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) formed in 1921. Mao Zedong (1893-1976) who emerged as a leader of CCP, took a different path by basing his revolutionary programme on the peasantry. He encouraged landless peasants to join the struggle for abolition of landlordism led by CCP. He made CCP as a powerful political force that ultimately won against the Guomindang. Mao Zedong's radical approach can be seen in Jiangxi, where they camped from 1928 to 1934, secure from Guomindang attacks. A strong peasant's council (soviet) was organised, united through confiscation and redistribution of land of landlords. The Guomindang blockade of the communists soviet forced the party to seek another base. This led them to go on what came to be called the long March (1934 - 35)-6,000 gruelling and difficult miles to shanxi.
          Both Guomindang and the CCP tried to join forces to fight Japanese occupation between 1937 and 1945. After the surrender of Japan to the US in August 1945, Guomindang and CCP engaged with each other in an all out warfare for control over China. Eventually CCP was successful in establishing its rule over mainland China while Guomindang was forced to set up its government on the island of Taiwan.

Mao's Role in Communist Government:
          Mao Zedong also known as Mao-Tse-tung, played a vital role establishing the Communist Government in China. He became the Chairman of the CCP. He wrote many essays, pamphlets which were supporting the policies and methods of the CCP. His most important philosophical book was New Democracy in which he discribed how communists are ruled China. He proposed Mixed Economy, consisting Government and private management and cooperative firms. He suggested coalition government for the implementation of New Democracy. He choosed Kianxsey State in which he formed the Communist Government. He introduced land reforms and formed farmer soviets. His followers Red Army canvas his thought and spread the communism over China territories.

People's Republic of China (1949-1954)
          In 1949, October the new People's Republic of China (PRC) was established under the leadership of the CCP. Mao-Tse-tung was sworned as its first President and Chau-en-Lei was the first Prime Minister. PRC was based on the Principles of the New Democracy an alliance of all social classes opposed to landlordism and imperialism. Once in power the CCP carried out large scale land reform measures which meant taking away the land of landlords and distributing them among poor peasants. The new government also managed to enact laws to protect women, their rights and abolition of polygamy. This enabled women to assume new roles and enjoy equal status vis a vis men in various fields.

Land Reforms:
          The People's Republic of China Government was launched new land reforms in 1950-51. The major steps were a class identification of all village inhabitants, followed by the confiscation and redistribution of landlords land and other productive property. A leading role in the process was played by work teams dispatched by country-level land reform committee. The work teams sought to mobilise the entire village against the landlords through mass meetings and trials.  As an economic reform program, land reform succeeded in redistributing about 43% of chinese cultivated land to about 60% of the rural population. Poor peasants substantially increased their holdings, but middle peasants actually benefited most because of their stronger initial position.
          A massive effort for setting up adult peasant schools to spread literacy and political education was undertaken along with the land reforms. The CCP rule gradually established a single party rule in which the supreme leaders or Chairman became all powerful. All opposition activities were disallowed. 

 The Colonial Experience

          In mid 19th century Vietnam came under the direct rule of the French. The French were keen to develop Vietnam as an exporter of rice and for this purpose they adopted a three fold strategy-improving irrigation facilities, encouraging landlords and facilitating marketing of agricultural produce. The French began by building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta to increase cultivation. Vietnam exported two-thirds of its rice production and by 1931 had become the third largest exporter of rice in the world. Construction of trans-Indo-China rail network that would link the northern and southern parts of Vietnam and China was begun.
The colonial economy in Vietnam was primarily based on rice cultivation and rubber plantation, where bonded labour was widely used. In the rural areas landlordism spread and large landlords took over the lands of small peasants and made them work as tenant farmers. As a result the standard of living for the peasants declined. 
          In Vietnam, the land concentrated in the hands of large, wealthy landlords. Owing little or no land, Vietnamese peasants became entrenched in a cycle of debt, unable to break free from usury interest rates, exorbitant land rents, and suffocating taxes imposed by landlords who were also the village elites. If an overwhelming majority of families that owned land were close to starvation in the 1930s, imagine what the conditions were like for landless peasants.  The peasants who rented the land of landlords had to pay rent in both share of produce and also by working on the fields and homes of the landlords and also pay different kinds of taxes imposed at will by the landlords. This forced them to borrow rice and money from the landlords and push them further into debt bondage.
The "Civilising Mission"
          The French were convinced the Vietnamese that they were uncivilised and the aim of their rule was to make them as civilised and also to bring the benefits of modern civilisation. The French thought that Education is one way to civilise them. But they feared the education create problem as educated Vietnamese may be questioned the domination of the French. So the French Government have provide formal primary education to the Vietnamese but higher education was in the French. Very few could enroll in schools and only a few among them were passed the school leaving examination.
Emergence of Vietnamese Nationalism
          The teachers and students did not blindly follow the curriculum given by the French. The teachers taught them the actual situation in the country. The students were inspired by patriotic feelings and the conviction that it was the duty of the educated to fight for the benefit of the society. By the 1920s, students were forming various political parties, such as the party of Young Annam and publishing nationalist journals such as the Annamese student.   Many students went to Japan, China, France and the USSR to study the various political ideas. Their main objective was quit the French from Vietnam, overthrow the puppet emperor and reestablish the Nguyen dynasty that had been deposed by the French.
          The Great Depression of the 1930s had a profound impact on Vietnam. The prices of rubber and rice fell, leading to rising rural debts, unemployment and rural, uprising.
Formation of Republic of Vietnam
          In February 1930, Ho Chi Minh brought together competing nationalist groups to establish the Vietnamese Communist Party (Vietnam Cong san Dang), later renamed the Indo-Chinese Communist Party. 
          In 1940 Japan occupied Vietnam, as part of its imperial drive to control Southeast Asia. So nationalists now had to fight against the Japanese as well as the French. 
          The League for the Independence of Vietnam, which came to be known as the Vietminh fought the Japanese occupation and recaptured Hanoi in September 1945. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was formed and Ho Chi Minh became Chairman. The Government adopted the policy of redistributing communal land and land owned by French and Vietnamese traitors.
Division of Vietnam
          The French tried to control on Vietnam by it offensive methods. After eight years of fighting, the French were defeated. In peace negotiations in Geneva, The Vietnamese were persuaded to accept the decision of the country. Ho Chi Minh and the communists took power in the north. The South was handed over to an old emperor who was soon ousted by Ngo Dinh Diem. His dictatorial rule was opposed by a broad opposition united under the banner of the National Liberation Front (NLF). Whereas North Vietnam successfully implemented the landreforms by way of land redistribution to poor peasants under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh.

US entry in Vietnam Politics:
          With the help of the Ho Chi Minh government in the north, the NLF fought for the unification of the country. The USA watched situations in Vietnam and feared about spreading of communism. The USA sent large military troops to North Vietnam. This phase (1965 - 74) of struggle with the US War brutal. US had been used advanced Military technology, Chemical and biological weapons like Napalam, Agent Orange (Plants killer) etc., destroyed many villages and decimated jungles.
   US Policy - planners underestimated the power of nationalism to move people to action, inspire them to sacrifice their home and family, live under horrific conditions, and fight for independence. These peasants inspired by nationalism and enthused by land reforms played the most crucial role in defeating the mightiest army in the world. The US policy towards Vietnam criticised strongly within the country. So it came to peace settlement in Paris in January 1974. The NLF occupied the Presidential Palace in Saigon on April 30, 1975 and finally unified Vietnam.

Nigeria: Forming unity against the colonies:
          The country we know as Nigeria today was actually created by the British by bringing together distinct regions inhabited by different tribal groups around the Niger river system. Northern Nigeria is dominated by Hausa_Fulani tribes, who are predominantly Muslims, the south-western part is Igbo tribes while the south eastern part is by Yoruba tribes and both are Christians. The story of modern Nigeria is the story of conflicts between these three regions amidst attempt at building a common democratic political system.
   The Niger river region is one of the most populous country of America, which has been suffering and exploited with colonial rule. From 16th century it was a centre of slave trade for America. With the abolition of slave trade in 19th Century, a new interest developed in Agricultural produce of this area. The British established their rule over coastal areas in 1861 and developed logos as a centre of trade, administration and education. It also became the centre of resistance to colonialism and the emergence of Pan Africanism and Nigerian Nationalism.  In early 20th centuries, the British followed racial discrimination (Aparthied) by way of educated Africans were excluded from the Civil service, and African Enterpreneurs were discriminated against. In 1939 the British also separated the Yoruba and Igbo regions into Western and Eastern Nigeria and encouraged competition and conflict between the three major tribal groups so as to be able to 'divide and rule' the country.
     In response to it, the educated intellectuals developed the idea of common Nigerian Nation and began to fought against the British rule. Herbert Macaulay founded the first Nigerial Political Party NNDP (Nigerian National Democratic Party). The NNDP won all seats in the elections of 1923, 1928 and 1933. In 1936, Nnamdi Azikiwe founded NYM (National Youth Movement).
          In 1944, Macaulay and Azikiwe agreed to form the NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons). Azikiwe increasingly became the dominant Nigerian Nationalist leader, he supported pan-Africanism and a Pan-Nigerian based nationalist movement.  Nigerian Nationalism became strong and grew in popularity. It had the twin task of fighting the British and also welding the very diverse and conflicting ethnic groups. By the 1950s these three regions also had their own anti-colonial movements led by regional parties: The conservative Northern People's Congress (NPC) in the North; NCNC in the east and the Action Group (AG) in the west.

Independence and weak democracy:
          The British government decided to give Independence to Nigeria. It became independent on 1st October 1963. Unfortunately Nigeria slipped into Civil war and Military rule. Corruption and suppression of human rights went hand in hand with collaboration between the military regime and multinational oil corruptions which funded the corrupt rulers. After a long haul of military dictatorship, Nigerians elected a democratic government in 1999. It remains to be seen how it faces the challenges of building a democratic Nigeria.

Oil, Environment and Politics:
          Oil was discovered in 1950s in the Niger Delta and soon various multinational companies headed by the Dutch shell company acquired rights over oil drilling. It is important resource of Nigeria. Oil extraction without care has created havoc in coastal environment. Oil spillage from oil wells has a major impact on the ecosystem. Large tracts of the mangrove forests have been destroyed. Spills destroy crops, soils, drinking water.. which leads to health disorders of the people.

   Offshore spills contaminate coastal environments and cause a decline in local fish production. Niger Delta region people started demanding compensation for years of ecological damage by foreign companies as well as control over their land's oil resources. The situation came to ahead in 1990 when an eminent human rights activist and environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa was executed by the military government despite international protests. Thus you can see that Nigeria is still making efforts to weld together a nation, work out a stable democratic system and gain control over its material resources.

Main Points

* At the turn of the 20th century China was ruled by emperors of Manchu dynasty, which was overthrown and republic was established in 1911 under the leadership of Sun-Yat-sen.

* Chinese people organised a movement on May 4th 1919 against the decisions of the Versailles peace conference.
* Chinese educated and intellectual people condemned the traditional and superstitious practices prevailing in the society.
* The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) formed in 1921 under the leadership of Mao Zedung played a vital role in China's political development.
* The CCP and KMT parties come together to fight against the Japan which occupied China's territories between 1937 and 1945.
* As the chairman of CCP, Mao encouraged the new political ideas "New Democracy" in which he described how communists are ruled China.
* Peoples' Republic of China (PRC) was formed in 1949, October. Mao Tsetung was the first President and Chau-en-lei was the first Prime Minister of PRC. They carved out the major land reforms to give justice poor peasants.
* In the mid 19th Century Vietnam came under the direct rule of the French. The French developed Vietnam for its selfish benefits.
* In those days, Vietnam's main resource was Agriculture. By 1931, it had become the third largest rice exporter in the world.
* Landlords in Vietnam exploited the peasants by way that they insisted to work at landlords' homes and impose taxes on them.

* The French justified its colonial rule in Vietnam as they are to civilise the Vietnamese, who are uncivilised.
* The French did not give best administration to Vietnam. It was not given to quality education to Vietnamese as they will be taken revolution against them.
* Educated Vietnamese wanted to develop their country and decided to work for Independence of Vietnam.
* By the 1920s, students were forming various political parties such as the Party of Young Annam, and publishing nationalist journals such as the Anamnesses Student.
* In 1930, Ho Chi Minh started Viatnamese Communist Party to fight against the French. He succeeded and became President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
* Unfortunately, the French offensive methods made its defeat with Vietnam. In peace negotiations in Geneva, the Vietnamese persuaded to accept the division of the country as North and South Vietnam.
* USA enter into Vietnam's political sceen. US sent its troops to North Vietnam to stop its spreading of communism as integration of Vietnams. US defeated in the hands of North-Vietnamese.
* US-Policy-Planners underestimated the power of nationalism to more people to action, inspire them to sacrifice their home and family, live under horrific conditions, and for Independence and Integration.
* The country we knows Nigeria today was actually created by the British by bringing together distinct regions inhabited by different tribal groups around the Niger River System.
* The story of modern Nigeria is the story of conflicts among the tribes Hausa-Pulani, Yoruba and Igbo and their regions amidst attempt at building a common democratic political system.
* The British dominated Nigeria. In early 20th centuries, the British followed racial discrimination and showed inferiority on educated and enterpreneus of Africans.
* Herbert Macaulay formed NNDP and Nnamdi Azikiwe started the NYM to create nationalism and political awakening among Nigerians.
* Pan Africanism is an idea which promotes the unity of all African Peoples irrespective of country or tribe.
* By way of political awakening and nationalism, the British give independence to Nigeria on 1st October 1963. Unfortunately, it fell down into civil-war and military rule.
* After a long haul of military dictatorship, Nigerians elected a democratic government in 1999.
* Oil was discovered in 1950s in the Niger Delta and soon various multinational companies acquired rights over drilling.
* In Niger Delta, various ethnic groups were organised movement for demanding compensation for years of ecological damage as well as control over their land's oil resources. Under the leadership of Ken Saro Wiwa, and eminent human rights activist and environmentalist.
* Nigeria is still making efforts to weld together a nation, workout a stable democratic system and gain control over its material resources.

Posted Date : 16-11-2020


గమనిక : ప్రతిభ.ఈనాడు.నెట్‌లో కనిపించే వ్యాపార ప్రకటనలు వివిధ దేశాల్లోని వ్యాపారులు, సంస్థల నుంచి వస్తాయి. మరి కొన్ని ప్రకటనలు పాఠకుల అభిరుచి మేరకు కృత్రిమ మేధస్సు సాంకేతికత సాయంతో ప్రదర్శితమవుతుంటాయి. ఆ ప్రకటనల్లోని ఉత్పత్తులను లేదా సేవలను పాఠకులు స్వయంగా విచారించుకొని, జాగ్రత్తగా పరిశీలించి కొనుక్కోవాలి లేదా వినియోగించుకోవాలి. వాటి నాణ్యత లేదా లోపాలతో ఈనాడు యాజమాన్యానికి ఎలాంటి సంబంధం లేదు. ఈ విషయంలో ఉత్తర ప్రత్యుత్తరాలకు, ఈ-మెయిల్స్ కి, ఇంకా ఇతర రూపాల్లో సమాచార మార్పిడికి తావు లేదు. ఫిర్యాదులు స్వీకరించడం కుదరదు. పాఠకులు గమనించి, సహకరించాలని మనవి.

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